My child arrived just the other day;
Came to the world in the usually way
But there were planes to catch and bills to pay.
He learned to walk while I was away.
He was talkin' 'fore I knew it.
And as he grew he said,
"I'm gonna be like you, Dad.
You know I'm gonna be like you."

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man on the moon.
"When you comin' home ?"
"Son, I don't know when.
We'll get together then.
You know we'll have a good time then."

Well, my son turned ten just the other day.
He said , "Thanks for the ball, Dad. Come on, let's play.
Could you teach me to throw ?" I said, "Not today.
I got a lot to do." He said, "That's okay."
And he walked away and he smiled and he said,
"You know,
I'm gonna be like him, yeah.
You know I'm gonna be like him."

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man on the moon.
"When you comin' home ?"
"Son, I don't know when.
We'll get together then.
You know we'll have a good time then."

Well, he came from college just the other day,
So much like a man I just had to say,
"I'm proud of you. Could you sit for a while ?"
He shook his head and he said with a smile,
"What I'd really like, Dad, is to borrow the car keys.
See you later. Can I have them please ?"

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man on the moon.
"When you comin' home ?"
"Son, I don't know when.
We'll get together then.
You know we'll have a good time then."

I've long since retired, my son's moved away.
I called him up just the other day.
"I'd like to see you, if you don't mind."
He said, "I'd love to, Dad, if I could find the time.
You see my new job's a hassle and the kids have the flu,
But it's sure nice talkin' to you, Dad.
It's been sure nice talkin' to you."
And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me,
He'd grown up just like me.
My boy was just like me.
(Yeah, yeah, yeah)

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man on the moon.
"When you comin' home ?"
"Son, I don't know when.
We'll get together then.
You know we'll have a good time then."


Lyrics submitted by Boonechic_21

Cat's in the Cradle Lyrics as written by Harry F. Chapin Sandy Chapin

Lyrics © Songtrust Ave, Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

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Cat's in the Cradle song meanings
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33 Comments

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  • +2
    General Comment

    for gods sake not every song is about drugs. This one clearly has nothing to do with drugs.

    bongoon May 17, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I cry to this song sometimes because the general song meaning is that a dad doesn't have the time to be with his child and help him grow, and the child starts to grow and needs stuff from his father. And when he has children of his own, his son doesn't have time to be with his dad. And the reason I cry to this song is because the same thing happened with my dad and my brother. Sooner or later, it's going to happen with me, and I won't have time for my dad anymore. Just like the son in this song.

    UKJsNeighboron April 13, 2021   Link
  • +1
    Song Meaning

    I cry to this song sometimes because the general song meaning is that a dad doesn't have the time to be with his child and help him grow, and the child starts to grow and needs stuff from his father. And when he has children of his own, his son doesn't have time to be with his dad. And the reason I cry to this song is because the same thing happened with my dad and my brother. Sooner or later, it's going to happen with me, and I won't have time for my dad anymore. Just like the son in this song. trystan101on April 13, 2021

    UKJsNeighboron April 13, 2021   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I think that Cat Stephens originally recorded this song. The apple falls not far from the tree.

    stringofpearlson February 07, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    No not Cat Stevens. The Carpenters. This version is like 1 Million times better than the original.

    supernaut1978on May 02, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Actually, the original version was by Harry Chapin, recorded in 1974. I haven't heard the UKJ re-working, but Chapin's original is amazing.

    loopydateon May 10, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    This is a great song. And loopydate is right. The original was written by Harry Chapin, and Ugly Kid Joe does a tremendous job singing this. As you could tell the song is about a man who had no time for his son as he grew up and the son kept telling him that he was going to be like his father. And it turns out that way. The son who is married and has kids now does not have time for his father. As the end says, "He'd grown up just like me, my boy was just like me."

    Outsideron June 28, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    And what's with 'And the cats in the cradle and the silver spoon, little boy blue and the man on the moon'? Is this typically American? What does it mean?

    Non June 29, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    i've heard it sung by harry chapin and james taylor, and my dad says that harry chapin is the original -- and my personal favorite.

    the chorus: 'and the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon, little boy blue and the man on the moon' refers to growing up, i believe. he's alluding to the passage of time, that his little boy was growing up in the "usual way"... a phrase in the first verse, which to me, is his way of saying that at first, there was nothing special about his son being born... yeah, a kid, you know, and then at the end, he realizes how much his son meant to him.

    sapphireskieson July 13, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    also, i believe the lyric in the second verse is "my son turned ten just the other day", not "well he slept til ten just the other day"...

    sapphireskieson July 13, 2002   Link

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